I was going over my Coupe Build articles and realized that although I posted photos of my first roadster, there are none of my 1932 Ford roadster that I finished a few years ago. As you can see, I built this as a more modern version than what I did originally. Now this one has all the bells and whistles - automatic, electric doors, trunk, and computer, '61 Corvette curved windshield, and modern three-piece billet HRE wheels. It's an original steel body with aluminum hood and side panels, and sits on a custom tube frame by Tri-C, riding on Kugel IFS and IRS. I departed from all the V8's as I always liked the article in the June 1950 HRM on Bill Carash's Cadillac powered V16 roadster, so a big V is what I always wanted. This was on my mind when I started this project, but not an old Cadillac engine. My first choice was BMW V12 since this was a powerful, FI and reliable modern engine. The outer dimensions are about the same as a SB Chevy, so no problem with fitment. I found a 30,000 mile roll-over 1996 BMW 750iL sedan and purchased the engine and 5-speed automatic trans. I worked on this combo for over nine months and could not get it to start - even with the help of BMW factory engineers!
This all aluminum engine/trans has four computers and they all have to work together (communicate) - if one shows a fault, nothing works! Finally I gave up on that system and purchased and Electromotive aftermarket computer system. After making the necessary crankshaft pick-up for the sensor, it fired right up - ran perfectly. Since I couldn't use the BMW computer trans, I had to machine a new bell housing, and torque converter adapter to fit up to the B&M supplied 700R4 trans for my project. Every single part had to be hand made - from motor mounts to a new intake manifold - all billet, as there are no aftermarket parts to buy.
I am not a quitter and when I start something I always finish it. It just took four years to do it from start to finish - having to engineer and machine each part. But now that it's done, it's a great cruiser - quiet and powerful, especially with headers, big exhaust and performance programmed computer. Take the factory published facts: 326hp @ 5,000rpm, 361hp torque @ 3,900rpm, 0-60 in 6.8 seconds, and the sedan weighs 4,900lbs. I have never tested my roadster, but at only 2,000lbs take your best guess. A quote from Bill's HRM article: "idles along at 70mph and hops to 100 with a flick of the toe." Exactly! The color is PPG Cherry Red, the same color as my new Coupe - they will look great parked together! So, now take a look if you haven't seen it in person - it's a great cruiser. My wife, Florence and I enjoy cruising to all the local shows. In looking back at the cars in HRM in the 1950's, the thing that is most striking, is that none of the drag cars or Bonneville cars had roll bars - even the streamliners, and Kenz's streamliner set a record at 230mph that year. And in 1952 he went 250mph -head sticking out of the body.